After weeks of meetings, Lakers coach Luke Walton, general manager Rob Pelinka and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson flew to Chicago on Tuesday for the NBA draft combine.

The lottery might be consuming the thoughts of fans, but that top pick is only part of the equation.

At the combine the Lakers will get the opportunity for time with some top players — including Washington’s Markelle Fultz and Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox, who will both be there for at least interviews. More than that, they’ll have a chance to continue evaluating players who might be available for their late first-round pick, their second-round pick or for summer league and training camp invitations.

“We are so prepared in how we’re evaluating guys that could be in the draft, free agents that might come up this July or next July and then players you think might come up to trade for,” Pelinka said shortly after the season ended. “It’s a combination of analytics. It’s a combination of game film. It’s a combination of talking to a lot of people around the league and getting a sense of who players are. But I will tell you there’s going to be a very high value for us on guys of character. Guys of integrity and guys who have a high basketball knowledge.”

The process of evaluating incoming rookies has already begun. Last week the Lakers held workouts Wednesday and Thursday that included six players on each day.


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